I have recently acquired a Tech 21 British V2 Sansamp from the Character series. for the purpose of recording direct.
Some of the figures were downright scary. Guitar Center (and its sister company, Musician’s Friend) is – ready for this? – 1.6 BILLION dollars in debt. It has been common knowledge for a few years that GC was in trouble but I had no idea it was of such magnitude. And that debt has a trickle-down effect. Fender is $130 million in the red, due in no small part to GC not paying its invoices. According to an industry insider I know, it is a lose/lose situation. Fender cannot refuse to do business with GC, i.e., give them very favorable terms and keep sending guitars in spite of unpaid invoices, because if GC goes belly-up (which is a definite possibility, according to my friend) Fender will have no hope of recovering ANY of the money they are owed.
The situation is not much better with a couple of the other big on-line retailers, Sweetwater and American Musical Supply, again according to my friend, but they do not release their sales figures. But suffice to say, if those companies offer 12-month, no-interest payment plans for a huge array of electric guitars already selling at a discount something is definitely wrong.
So why is this happening? The conclusion of George Gruhn of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, who knows as much as anyone about trends in the guitar business is that for the younger players the “guitar god” phenomenon that drove young players to want to play back in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and even the 90s no longer exists. The Guitar Gods if yore are either old or dead. How many teen age guitarists worship at the altar of Clapton, Hendrix, Vai, or Van Halen? Fewer and fewer. This seems to be a very valid argument. Sure, there are a few younger players like Bonamassa and John Mayer are legitimate monster players but they just don’t seem to inspire the rabid worship that was heaped upon their forebears.
But I think that there are other, equally important factors. Now, understand that I still play electric guitar from time to time and I fully intend to do so at least part of the time in any future group I form or join. At the end of the day though I am an acoustic guitarist, first and foremost. What I’m getting to – and I know there are many who would disagree with this – is that shredding on a distorted, loud electric may be fun in someone’s basement, but does anyone except other shredders really want to hear that? And does it sound good by itself? Because without a bass player and drummer (at least) that style of playing is not exactly pleasant to the vast majority of people, both youngers ones raised on electronica and hip-hop and oldsters who went through their blow-my-eardrums-out phase long ago and don’t care to repeat it.
Another huge factor in the dire straights (no pun intended!) those big retailers find themselves in is quite ironic. There was a time when the quality of lesser brands was variable at best and it was essential to try out a guitar before it was purchased. Now, with consistent and predictable manufacturing, plus very liberal return policies, the only thing that separates the big boys from one another is price. So they watch each other very, very carefully and cut their margins to the bone. MAP policies help, to a degree, but even those are stretched and tweaked with regular “special” sales and extremely liberal terms. My guess, and this in only a guess, is that if GC or those other big companies are lucky, they make at best a 10% margin at the end of the day on most electric guitars they sell. Even the cheapies. Yes, the margins are a bit better on the high end stuff, but getting back to the original point of the story, how many high end guitars are they selling?
There is a basic rule of successful sales that says the less expensive the item sold, the bigger the margin. That rule has been bent to the breaking point and if things keep going the way they seem to be there will be some significant attrition in the music equipment world. You cannot be solvent on 10% margins with hundreds of millions – or billions – of dollars of debt.
Which gets me back to my own observations and experience. I am so, so glad that I focus my playing and teaching on acoustic guitar. The resurgence of interest in acoustic guitar in the last 20 years both by younger players and older ones returning to the instrument after abandoning it in their youth is very heartening. Players have discovered (or remembered) how easy it is to just sit down with an acoustic and…. Play. In their bedroom, on the front porch, at a beach somewhere. No amplifier needed. Even the simplest chord pattern sounds pleasing not just to the player but to anyone listening. And it’s no accident that many of the hardest of hardcore rockers do most of their writing with an acoustic guitar. It brings things back to their most basic level. No noise, no pedal board, no beast of an amp to lug, and even the least expensive acoustic sounds good on some level, compared to the most expensive Strat or Les Paul played when NOT plugged in. The music becomes the thing, not the machine.
So God Bless, GC, Musician’s Friend, Sweetwater, American Musical and the other big guys who pushed so many small local music stores out of business in the last decade. Karma is a bitch.
Peace & good music,
I have decided to take a break from taking advance orders for custom dulcimers.
Five years ago about half my dulcimers were sold before I made them. Someone would choose from various options I offer and give me a deposit to begin making their dulcimer. I prioritized these custom orders and built them in the order they were received.
While building these custom dulcimers I also had time to build dulcimers that were not already sold. I usually had three to five dulcimers on hand for sale.
Five years ago I suddenly had to deal with some serious lower back issues that added unexpected flavor and color to my life. It has been an interesting journey and it is not yet over.
I am currently able to work in the shop about one-third the amount of time I would prefer to be working. Some days or weeks I am able to work more, some less, some not at all, but it averages out to working about a third of the time I used to.
During this time I have also had a surprising increase in custom orders. All but one dulcimer I have sold in the past 3 years was ordered in advance.
My time in the shop has become completely focused on custom work. I keep thinking I will have time to build some dulcimers to put up for sale but it just hasn’t happened.
Most of the custom dulcimers I build are pretty much the same as dulcimers I would ordinarily build but the new owner chooses particular wood, string length, number of strings, fret patterns, and other options that I offer. Occasionally someone asked for a unique feature that had to do with playability for their particular style and when I felt it worked with my sense of instrument design then I would do that as well.
The tricky part of this is that when I do have dulcimers on hand for sale they are sometimes not exactly what someone wants. If it has no dots in the fingerboard someone will want dots in the fingerboard. If it has 3 strings someone wants one just like it with 4 strings or vice-versa.
In the near future I will be offering dulcimers for sale and I am thinking there will usually be something available that will appeal to someone. If someone wants something specific I will keep a list and contact them if I make something like what they want. I’ll also be happy to contact people and let them know when I have more dulcimers available.
In the long run I think this will work better for everyone. When I put a dulcimer up for sale people can try it and know exactly what they are getting. I can ship it and you can return it if you decide you don’t care for it. I have sold many dulcimers this way and so far no one has decided not to keep it.
With a custom order the dulcimer is yours. Unless there is a problem with it covered by my warranty the dulcimer is not returnable. Again, I have sold many dulcimers this way and almost everyone was 100% happy. One person was less than 100% happy but still liked the dulcimer.
I think this is a good track record.
So in the near future I will be only selling dulcimers that exist.
If you are on my waiting list please don’t freak out! I am happily working on your dulcimer and you will get it on schedule.
I feel better already.
The 2017 Summer NAMM show will be held here in Nashville in just a few weeks, from July 13 to July 15. The final day, July 15, will be open to all music enthusiasts to visit vendor booths and demo new gear:
NASHVILLE – May 2, 2017 – The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) will welcome music industry professionals to its annual Summer NAMM Show on Saturday, July 15. The members-only conference and tradeshow will open its doors to musicians, songwriters, sound and recording pros, music educators, students and others involved in the production and creation of music and live sound, and feature special, professional development opportunities, networking events, live performances and the chance to check out the latest gear from the industry’s top music instrument and pro audio companies.
Highlights of the day include a robust professional development schedule, offering attendees the opportunity to learn from leaders in their space and network with like-minded peers. Presenters include the Nashville Songwriters Association International, guitar pros and editors from Guitar Player magazine, social media, PR and marketing experts, as well as accomplished songwriters.
The schedule starts at 10:30 a.m. and covers topics such as:
· How to Build an Audience on Instagram
· The Future of the Guitar
· Musician Marketing: Insider Tips to Grow Your Brand
· Hit Songwriting: Making the Most of Cutting-Edge Trends
· The Art of Endorsement Deals
· 2017 Songwriter Success Summit
Music Industry Day attendees will have the opportunity to demo the latest in new musical instruments and pro audio gear from top-name makers spanning all categories making it a one-stop shop for pros looking for musical sources of inspiration and to connect. To view the show floor map and list of exhibitors, please visit: https://www.namm.org/summer/2017.
Tickets are available now for only $10 at https://www.namm.org/summer/2017/music-industry-day/ and available the morning of Saturday, July 15 at Nashville Music City Center for $20.
The Music City Center is a nice venue and Nashville is a great city to visit if you’re on the fence about coming to the show.
Andreas Kisser has kept himself very busy lately — supporting Sepultura’s recent tour and enjoying the long-awaited world premiere of their documentary, while also dedicating time to his supergroup side project De La Tierra.
De La Tierra released sophomore album II last November, with lead track “Puro” debuting just days before the record dropped. Just last week, the band returned with a powerful new video treatment for the single that reinforces its “always darkest before the dawn” theme. In the clip, members of the group are tortured while in captivity, but their perseverance during eventually leads to freedom.
Watch the video now, and see Kisser on his one-of-a-kind custom Charvel San Dimas.
Aloha! Are you familiar with fake books? The way that it was explained to me, years ago, was that it was basically just a memory jogger. You would learn songs – lots of songs – and then you would forget the chord progressions. You would know the rhythm and melody but would forget the chords because you know so many songs with so many chords. So you make a fake book with the chord progressions like so:
C, A, C, D
And boom, there’s your fake book. You could cram a ton of songs into a relatively small package like a binder or notebook and bring it to gigs in case people call out songs you know, but don’t REALLY remember.
But that’s only one type of fake book. Another type is Hal Leonard’s which I’m pretty sure is just the sheet music for songs that includes lyrics and chord boxes for ukulele. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. I honestly think that it’s called a fake book because there’s just so many offerings from different genres, styles, and decades. There really is a little bit of everything in this for you and it’s all laid out in basic form for easy understanding.
The best thing about this book is the size. There are over 400 songs included in this ONE book and THAT is amazing. To illustrate just how amazing it is, the other night I was watching a Nostalgia Critic review on YouTube (because it’s a very funny show) and he referenced “Rainbow Connection.” I thought about it and said to myself “yeah, I bet that would be a fun song to play!” I opened the Ukulele Fake Book and there it was on page 454. I also flipped through from the beginning on and found songs that I love but never thought to learn on ukulele. “Time of Your Life,” “At Last,” a bunch of Elvis songs, “Dream Lover,” “Blue Bayou,” and on and on and on. Even songs that I would totally learn just for laughs is in here (Smash Mouth’s “All Star”).
That’s the beauty of the book.
The downside is that it’s a massive book. I mean, over 400 songs has to fit in SOMEWHERE, but the book is larger than most of this year’s phonebooks at 686 pages. This would obviously cut down on the portability, but you could always copy the chord progressions and bring them with you if you knew what the set would include.
Fortunately, Hal Leonard gives the buyer a choice: you can buy this behemoth or you can buy a smaller version. The songs are exactly the same, written exactly the same, they’re just written smaller. If you’re looking for portability, that might be your best bet, but if you’re looking for legibility – particularly on stage looking down at a book – the bigger version might be more up your alley. I look at it like this: If you’re staying home and using it, get the smaller one because it’s easier to handle (also slightly cheaper), but if you’re going to be bringing this out, the big one will be better. Less wieldy but more visible.
The book is bound nicely WITHOUT spiral binding. I hate spiral binding. It does lay flat, which is nice, but it’s easy to spin around and break the edges and then you have to deal with torn holes as it slowly (but surely) begins to rip apart from one end to the other. This comb binding is a nice compromise between stitched or stapled binding and spiral binding, though. It lays flat, but you can’t twist it too far since it’s a piece of plastic with multiple termination points as opposed to one continuous spiral. And on the side of the plastic it even says what it is so it’s even easier to find on your shelf.
Personally, this is my favorite musical book I’ve ever reviewed. I would think of songs and look them up and, yup, there they are. This is INVALUABLE! I could easily think of hours spent trolling the internet looking for accurate chords for different songs, clicking out of pop-up ads, dealing with pushy “subscribe!” notices, or risking malware on my computer and now, I can just open the book and it’s probably right there!
And, for the amount of songs, it’s really affordable. There are other ukulele fake books that I will review later, but it makes me wish there were more treasure troves like this. Hal Leonard has a Disney Fake Book, for instance, that I would LOVE to see in ukulele transcriptions. There’s also a Sinatra Fake Book, a Coffeehouse Companion (which sounds particularly interesting) – oh my god, they even have an Easy Jazz Fake Book. Why are these not available in ukulele? I would buy them all!
But I would START with this book. If you’re looking to learn ukulele, the bang for your buck value here is out of this world. I can’t recommend it enough!
Until next time! Mahalo!
PRESS RELEASE: TOLEDO, OH (June 14, 2017) – Reverend Guitars and Matt West united to create a signature model just in time for Neck Deep’s Warped Tour jaunt. Based on the Jetstream platform that West loves, the guitar has a single Reverend CP90 pickup and a Wilkinson tremolo. It’s topped off with a reverse headstock and West’s wizard logo on the back. The model is available in Midnight Black and Powder Yellow, both with tortoise pickguards. The guitar will be released this Friday, June 16, 2017, in conjunction with West’s Warped Tour appearance.
Matt West is a member of the Welsh pop-punk band, Neck Deep, known for their intense and philosophical lyrics as much as their riff-driven music. The band is about to embark on the Vans Warped Tour for the entire US run. They will release their third studio album, The Peace and the Panic, on August 18, 2017.
On all Reverend Guitars, there is a Boneite nut and locking tuners, Reverend’s Bass Contour Control, and a dual-action truss rod – all for maximum performance. You can’t be different if you’re playing what everyone else is. Visit www.reverendguitars.com to start your journey towards being an individual.
PRESS RELEASE: AKRON, Ohio — Ohio-based extra special effects pedal manufacturer EarthQuaker Devices will host the second-annual EarthQuaker Day festival at their downtown Akron facility (350 W. Bowery St.) on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 1:00pm until 8:00pm.
The company, proudly based in Akron, Ohio since 2004, invites music lovers of all ages to converge upon their facility for a day of live music, product demonstrations, local business and art exhibitions, guided workshop tours, food from local favorites the Square Scullery and Nuevo, coffee by Kent’s Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, discounted EarthQuaker Devices B-stock, door prize giveaways, the PRS Guitars Riff Contest, fun, and games. The event is free and open to the public.
Each attendee will receive a raffle ticket upon entry for a chance to win one of several door prizes, including contributions from Moog Music, MakeNoise, the Nightlight Cinema, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, SIT Strings, the Akron Civic Theater, Summit Artspace, DeMarco School of Music, Good Life Tattoo, Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology, and more.
One of the 2016 highlights was the Riff Contest, which thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Maryland-based PRS Guitars, will receive a significant prize upgrade. This year’s winner will take home a PRS SE Custom 24 guitar valued at $759, in addition to EarthQuaker Devices’ Erupter and Ghost Echo v3 effects pedals, an EarthQuaker Devices swag pack, and a first place trophy. Contestants will receive 30 seconds to impress a panel of celebrity judges with their best riffs performed through an assortment of EarthQuaker Devices pedals. Participants must pre-register at www.earthquakerdevices.com/eqdayand check-in on the day of the event. Limited to 20 entries. Contest begins promptly at 5:15pm on the Lawn Stage. The 2017 celebrity judges include:
- Juan Alderete – bassist in Halo Orbit, Deltron 3030, Racer X, the Mars Volta, Juliette Lewis
- Nick Reinhart – guitarist in Tera Melos, Big Walnuts Yonder
- Jamie Stillman – EarthQuaker Devices founder, president, and product designer, guitarist in Relaxer, the Party Of Helicopters, Drummer
EarthQuaker Day 2017 will feature original music and covers performed by EarthQuaker Devices employees, including:
- Suffer Little Children (The Smiths tribute)
- Crystal Visions (Fleetwood Mac tribute)
- Thelma & the Sleaze (Nashville, TN)
- Fringe Candidate
- EYE (Columbus, OH)
Effects pedal clinics and Q&A sessions include:
- Marc Lee Shannon (Michael Stanley & the Resonators) – Using Pedals with Acoustic & Folk Instruments
- Nick Reinhart – Guitar Clinic
- Juan Alderete – Bass Clinic
- Nick Reinhart / Juan Alderete / Jamie Stillman – Roundtable Discussion & Jam
Other notable additions to this year’s festival include a dunk tank, a cash grab machine, and, courtesy of 91.3 the Summit FM, EarthQuaker Day 2017 will be an official MusicAlive Donation Station where attendees may donate their new or gently-used instruments to help keep music in our schools and place instruments in the hands of Akron Public Schools students in need.
The official EarthQuaker Day 2017 after party begins at 8pm at Annabell’s Bar & Lounge (784 W. Market St.) and will feature performances by Black Sabath and This Moment In Black History.
To celebrate the occasion, participating retailers in the United States will offer EarthQuaker Devices products at a 15% discount on August 5, 2017.
EarthQuaker Devices is a manufacturer of hand built guitar effects pedals that has been based in Akron, Ohio since 2004. The company, which began as a one-man basement workshop operation is now an award-winning multimillion-dollar international phenomenon with clients ranging from bedroom rock gods to Grammy Award winners.
EarthQuaker Devices would like to thank each and every one of our sponsors from the bottom of our hearts. Your kindness and generosity makes us proud to be from Akron, Ohio, and we appreciate your contribution to this celebration of Northeast Ohio’s creativity, talent, and passion more than you will ever know. EarthQuaker Day 2017 sponsors include:
- 91.3 the Summit FM
- Rock & Recovery
- Circle Prime Manufacturing
- Dr. Z Amplification
- Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
- PRS Guitars
- Pro Guitar Shop
- Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology
- Chicago Music Exchange
- The Devil Strip
- Gotta Groove Records
- Guitar Riot
- Mr. Zub’s Deli
- Mustard Seed Market & Café
- Peoples Bank
- Thursday’s Lounge
- Saffron Patch Cleveland
- 91.1 WRUW FM
- Akron Art Museum
- Akron Civic Theatre
- Akron Symphony Orchestra
- Bent Tree Coffee Roasters
- CAD Audio
- Decibel Pedalboards
- DeMarco’s School of Music
- Custom Audio Mutation
- Annabell’s Bar & Lounge
- Warwick / Rockboard
- Graham Fox & Co.
- Human Unlimited
- Make Noise
- Moog Music
- The Nightlight Cinema
- Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar
- Birchwood & Pine
- SIT Strings
- Square Records
- Three Anchors Tattoo
- Good Life Tattoo
- Towpath Credit Union
- Wax Mage Records
- The Guitar Department
- Square Scullery Food Truck
What: EarthQuaker Day 2017
When: 1:00pm – 8:00pm, Saturday August 5, 2017
Where: EarthQuaker Devices HQ – 350 W. Bowery St. Akron, OH 44307
Cost: Free, open to the public
PRESS RELEASE: Melbourne rock outfit Drunk Mums return with a new single ‘Ode To Death’ The first single of their forthcoming EP Denim.
The track continues from their recent homage of hard rock and punk heard on their latest release Leather.Taking influence from Johnny Thunders and The Stooges the band takes a step back with this one, or so it seems, considering the lyrics have a pretty bleak undertone. Don’t let that fool you though, it is still something you could probably show ya parents and hell they’d probably like it too.
‘Ode To Death’ is true to the Drunk Mums rock, punk, garage sound which has been witnessed in previous tracks ‘Plastic’ and ‘Nanganator’. Following the release of ‘Ode To Death’ Drunk Mums will roll out a small Australian tour with some of their favourite bands in support.
The four piece, have built a reputation for their rowdy shows over the years, having played at many of the country’s finest festivals: Cherry Rock, Party in the Paddock, Paradise, Sounds of the Suburbs as well as with the likes of Jake Bugg, Dune Rats and Rich Ramone.
Catch ‘Ode To Death’ live in August when Drunk Mums take their Aussie garage rock on the road.
PRESS RELEASE: Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 20, 2017) — True to its name and purpose, the Phaser pedal for electric guitar has progressed through various musical phases, and across many stages, over the past few decades. Simple in delivery, NEXI Industries’ Phaser (PSR-01) represents the next stage for this effect pedal, with a plug-‘n-play design that makes compatibility a breeze—just like the effect’s signature sweeping and swooshing.
As a modulation, the phaser effect is created by the pedal’s signal processor that receives the input of the guitar and breaks it down into two parts—the first is kept dry, preserving the guitar’s original sound, while the second passes through various stages, creating the “sweeping” effect. NEXI’s analog Phaser is a throwback to the pedal’s earliest days, with a single knob that increases or decreases the speed of the peaks and troughs. Crank it up to “Fast” to create an aggressive swirl for heavy rock or metal, or turn it down to “Slow” for a lush sweep that’s ideal for ballads, reggae, or country.
NEXI’s Phaser was designed by boutique effect pedal creators, the self-declared “Vintage Analog Protection Squad,” who are committed to providing a unique tone without compromise. Like all NEXI pedals, the Phaser is true bypass and hybrid, meaning it can be used standalone with a 9V battery or plugged right into the external power supply of NEXI’s revolutionary pedal board. Aptly named “The Solution,” this heavy-duty board has a two-channel switch and three-step booster to satisfy every guitarist’s ego. It’s also equipped with a built-in tuner and power supply, two charging docks for tablet or smartphone, and covers that protect ports against dirt and beverage spills (splash-proof). Players are free to create those mind-bending swooshes and swirls, knowing that their board—and their Phaser pedal—are safe and sound.
Get a closer look and hear a demo at https://nexi.eu/products/phaser.
PRESS RELEASE: June 21, 2017 — Edmond, OK — Keeley Electronics is proud to announce the Tesla MKIII Fuzz, a vintage voiced MKIII Soviet Germanium fuzz with Keeley attention to detail.
With controls for FUZZ, TONE, and LEVEL the Tesla Fuzz makes it easy for players to dial in very wild amounts of fuzz. Modifications to the circuit allow for an increased high frequency not heard of before as well as ultra-low noise. Furthermore, design modifications have solved temperature problems that can affect vintage fuzz units. This particular bender design has a very vintage tone to it. Pure fuzz, no overdrive. Think late 1960’s and very unrefined.
“Our design team focused on building a MkIII style circuit with a stash of 104NU71 Soviet transistors that Keeley obtained. In this particular NPN Germanium design we focused on bringing out the most amazing attributes of the transistor. The 104NU71 has a super sticky, velcro tone and an incredibly unique bass response” said Robert Keeley, founder and chief engineer, Keeley Electronics. “To achieve this, we employed several technical innovations from our Time Machine Boost and Holy Fuzz designs. We also use techniques to nearly eliminate temperature coefficient problems in germanium designs.”
The Keeley Electronics Tesla MKIII will be released June 22nd at RKFX.com and at select dealers worldwide. Street Price is $149. Visit www.rkfx.com for more information about the full lineup of award-winning Keeley Electronics effects.
June 21st celebrates not only the summer solstice but national Make Music Day!
As a proud sponsor of Make Music Day, Martin Guitar hosted an all day jam session in the visitor's lobby. Martin Guitar employees performed from 8AM to 5PM. Visitors to the Martin factory were encouraged to join in and the local Nazareth Acoustic Eagles even performed for us. You can catch our Director of Marketing Chris Thomas perform here.
A number of Martin Guitar dealers also participated with free guitar lessons, open mics, and more!
Find a round up of the 2017 Make Music Day here. And don't forget to make your calendar for June 21, 2018 to celebrate the next Make Music Day at Martin Guitar!
Wampler first announced the Ethereal pedal at last year’s winter NAMM show. Brian Wampler wasn’t fully satisfied with the pedal at that point, and he spent the last year and a half refining the pedal to where he was satisfied. And now, Wampler have official released the Ethereal for sale.
So, what is the Ethereal? Here’s how Wampler describes it:
How many times have you sat in front of your favorite ambient pedal and felt like you need weeks of training at NASA to use it? Knobs, switches, sliders…It’s often SO hard and frustrating to find a usable tone on those things quickly… Keeping that firmly in mind, when we first considered making an ambient pedal, ease of use was a top priority, right up there with top tier quality tone on par with pedals at twice the price.
Put more simply, it’s a combination reverb and delay pedal. Obviously, they’re marketing it towards ambient tones and players, but based on the demos, it could also work as a stand-alone reverb or delay pedal.
I don’t really play in an ambient style, but if you do, this looks like a pedal to look at.
Warren Haynes recently sat down with Reverb.com to discuss his approach to playing slide guitar in standard tuning instead of an open tuning:
The popular 15-Series has two fantastic new additions! Discover the D-15M Streetmaster and 000-15M Streetmaster.
Built to the same specifications as the D-15M and 000-15M models but with a beautifully distressed satin finish. The StreetMaster is perfect for your next gig, whether it be at the historic Ryman Theater or a day of busking in the big city. Enjoy the look and feel of a well-worn instrument with the lifetime warranty and the superb playability of a brand new guitar. The 15 Series StreetMaster models come with a gig bag making them ready to hit the streets!
You can learn more about the new D-15M Streetmaster and 000-15M Streetmaster here.
|Miller with Les Paul|
Steve Miller gets his affection for Les Paul honestly since Les was his godfather.
Miller’s father was a jazz aficionado who met Les in 1948 when Les Paul and Mary Ford were playing at a Milwaukee jazz club. Dr. George Miller aka Sonny asked Les Paul if he would mind if he recorded his show on his tape recorder. (In addition to being a pathologist, Dr. Miller was a recording engineer).
Afterward, Les listened to the recording with Sonny and Bertha Miller and a friendship developed. It is worth noting that Steve's mother, Bertha, was a gifted jazz singer.) In fact Les and Mary spent the night at the Miller’s house.
As early as age 4, Les Paul encouraged Steve Miller to play guitar. The two men maintained contact with each other up though Les' passing.
|Miller LP Recording|
This guitar featured low impedance pickups for recording that could changed to high impedance with the flip of a switch. These low impedance pickups were Les’ ticket to getting all those guitar overdubs back in the early days of multi-track recording.
By bouncing from track to track, the original signal dissipates with each successive pass. This does not happen with a low impedance signal.
The guitar could get a sound like a Rickenbacker, or back it off and it sounded like Wes Montgomery’s Gibson L-5.
|Les Paul's personal |
In addition to Steve Miller's Les Paul Recording guitar, the Music Zoo is offering twenty-five of Miller’s personal instruments for sale to the public, and some are being sold at a very reasonable price.
|Miller's 3 Eric Clapton Beano Les Pauls|
|Blues Breaker cover -Clapton with Beano comic|
|Les Paul Beano|
Since then Gibson’s custom shop has made some replicas. Miller’s four Gibson Beano Les Pauls range from an asking price of $10,000 to $30,000 USD.
There are also two Miller “Joker” Standard black Stratocasters for sale at $5,000
Each guitar has a harlequin-like representation of The Joker on their bodies.
Four other Fender Stratocasters are offered.
|Children of the Future|
One is called Children of the Future. This was a guitar has a unique design on the front that is based on the cover of Miller’s Children of the Future LP.
The other strat is a Fender Museum American Standard model in Olympic White with a maple neck and is autographed by other guitarists. Etched in the top of the body is the Fender Museum logo.
The third strat is a black Fender of unspecified vintage. It has a maple neck and the body is tastefully bedecked with a white/black emblem from the end of the bridge unit to the back of the guitar, and an orange Fender sticker that says “I’m a Champion” with Steve Miller’s autograph.
There are only two acoustic instruments being offered. Both guitars are 12 string models made by Martin.
|Martin J-12 40e|
One is a Martin Grand J-12 40E, that has a bound neck, and headstock, and lovely rosette work. The top is made of solid Sitka spruce, while the bookmatched back, and sides are solid east indian rosewood. The Martin logo is inlaid in abalone in the headstock. At $5,000 it is a bargain.
|Vallee electric |
Miller's collection includes two other Bolin model. This one is in the shape of a Gibson ES-335. The bound top is flamed maple that is book matched with a sunburst style. The guitar includes two humbucking pickups, with only a single volume and tone control, plus a selector switch. The bound back is equally impressive with book matched flamed maple. The flamed maple neck has a single skunk stripe. It is offered at $5,000.
|Bolin Les Paul Style Guitar|
|2011 Lou Pallo|
Another one of Miller's Gibson Les Paul is available for $5,000. This is a 2011 Lou Pallo Signature model. It has a beautiful black top and a natural back. Lou Pallo was the guitarist that played in the Les Paul Trio.
The Miller collection includes not one, but two Gibson EDS-1275’s, The first custom shop double six 12 string has an all white finish. It is wired in the same manner as Don Felder of the Eagles had his guitar wired, and is even autographed by Felder on the back of the headstock and numbered. It comes with a certificate and a copy of sheet music for Hotel California that is signed by Felder.
The other EDS-1275 is a 2008 custom shop version of the famous double neck used by Jimmy Page on Stairway to Heaven. It comes with a certificate of authenticity and is one of 250 instruments produced. Both double necks come with the original hard-shell cases.
|Gibson Les Paul Jr.|
Steve Miller is also offering his White Les Paul Jr that was made by Gibson’s custom shop.
Aside from the Clapton Beano replica Les Paul’s, Miller has three other excellent Les Paul guitars.
|Pearly Gates LP|
Two of them are Gibson Billy Gibbons Pearly Gates Les Paul guitars with VOS (vintage original spec) nitrocellulose finishes.
|Pearly Gates LP|
Both are 2009 models that were produced in limited editions from Gibson’s custom shop and are replicas of the Reverend Gibbons famous 1959 Les Paul right down to the exact neck profile. Both guitars contain twin Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups with vintage hardware.
It features all the changes that Warren Haynes included on his own instrument. The frets come over the binding, which most professional luthiers and guitar techs would frown upon, but this is Haynes’ preference.
The pointer under the controls lay flat against the body, and this instrument is equipped with Gibson’s CAE sound-unity gain buffer, which keeps the levels consistent on both pickups when raising or lowering volume. The Haynes Les Paul is equipped with twin Burstbucker pickups.
|Asher Tele style|
The final guitar offered from the MIller collection is a black 2010 Asher Telecaster style guitar. This is a custom made guitar from Los Angeles luthier Bill Asher. The body is made of alder and the 22 fret neck is Birdseye maple, with a six on a side headstock. The pickups are hand wound Asher T-blade models. It features a Glendale bridge and chrome hardware. It is offered at $3,500 USD.
Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click the links in the text for additional information.
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Ever since Kiesel announced the Vader headless (via a ‘one image fragment at a time’ social campaign a couple of years ago) I’ve daydreamed about owning one. At at NAMM this year checked out quite a few of them and was really impressed by the weight, balance and resonance. So, with thanks to Jeff and Manny at Kiesel, I’m about to take delivery of my dream Vader. Above is a snippet of a photo that Jeff sent me. There’s actually a very similar V7 on the Kiesel site, but mine has some key differences, and there’s a long and convoluted reason for every wood and colour choice, which I’ll get into in a full review when the guitar arrives. For now, why don’t you head on over to the Kiesel website to check out the various options on the Vader!
Here is a pretty good youtube series. “Pedal Power” by D’addario strings has been around for a while but Dweezil Zappa has stepped forward to host the show, and it’s pretty cool.
Here is Episode 3 with Zane Carney, a pretty innovative guitarist with a huge theoretical knowledge (I must work on this!):